Papelbon gets rest after three straight saves

Papelbon gets rest after three straight saves

Papelbon gets rest after three straight saves
ANAHEIM -- And on the fourth day, Jonathan Papelbon got a rest. It was well-deserved for Boston's closer, who reeled off saves on three consecutive days, the Red Sox winning each game by two runs or less.

It was Papelbon's first three-day, three-save sequence since Sept. 2-4, 2007.

Not only is Papelbon getting results, but he's doing it in dominant fashion.

The key?

"Fastball command," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "It's nice when it has some finish to it like it does. Last year when he'd run into some problems, it was a lot of nights of ball one, ball two, ball three. And there were a lot of nights he'd fight his way back and maybe have a tough save. Or there was a couple that he didn't. But right now, he's executing his pitches so well."

Papelbon is 5-for-5 in saves and has a 2.16 ERA.

Last season, Papelbon committed a career-high eight blown saves and didn't make the All-Star team for the first time. But instead of that marking the start of a decline, perhaps it was just the natural down year that any star has at one time or another.

"He's been great in years past," said Red Sox lefty Jon Lester. "When guys have long careers, you're going to have have years when things just don't go your way. You just have to come back and keep grinding it out. That's a testament to what he did this offseason. Pap had a chip on his shoulder a little bit. I think he worked a little harder than normal. It's nice to see three nights in a row to come out throwing like he did."

Bobby Jenks also won't pitch in Saturday night's game against the Angels, as he also saw action in the previous three games.

If a closing situation presents itself, look for Daniel Bard to get the call. The righty got his day of rest on Friday.